A bill with a provision allowing teachers and school staff members with a license to carry to have a gun in their vehicles on school campuses is one step away from becoming law in Texas.
The senate approved SB 1566 Saturday and it is on its way to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk.
A standalone bill proposing the same law died before hitting the house floor.
Allowing guns on school campuses has been a controversial issue in Texas for several years, even when the firearm is locked inside of a vehicle.
“More guns equal less crime,” said Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works.
“We think that, in a school parking lot where there are kids constantly, it is simply not a good idea,” said Andrea Brauer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense.
When lawmakers approved an amendment to Senate Bill 1566, which would allow school staff with a license to carry to have a firearm inside a parked car on school property, there were mixed reactions.
“Whenever we make these changes, it makes Texas better and it makes Texans safer,” said Cargill.
“We are very disappointed that this passed and we think it really does put kids at risk and certainly can add to more crime with more stolen guns on school grounds,” Brauer said.
Cargill supported the legislation when it was a standalone bill in the house, but, because of time restraints at the Capitol, that bill never made it to the house floor.
Instead, lawmakers tacked the provision onto a bill dealing with the operation of school boards.
“What we're saying is, ‘Hey, you’re going to be able to protect yourself when you go to other places other than just work,’” said Cargill.
The bill does not require guns inside of a vehicle to be locked in a safe, something Texas Gun Sense proposed, but lawmakers shot it down.
“Cars are not gun safes and the reason is 18,892 guns are stolen in Texas every year and a lot of those are from cars,” Brauer said.
“I would suggest that they actually lock it in their vehicle, like in a lockbox or something like that, so don't leave it under the seat, glovebox or anything like that,” said Cargill.
“That's not something that has to be mandated by the state,” he added.
The provision is just the latest reason gun rights advocates and proponents of stricter gun laws disagree.
Though both sides advocate for safety, they have very different opinions on how to achieve it.
“It's very shocking. Texas is actually the 26th pro-gun state in the U.S. We're number 26 for being pro-gun, that means Vermont is actually ahead of us. We need to catch up. There's a lot more that needs to get done,” Cargill said.
“Texas received an “F” from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence on our gun laws, so we don't have very strong gun laws in our state and we pay the price for that,” said Brauer.
If the governor signs the bill, which supporters and opponents both expect him to, it will take effect on September 1.